Much like his werewolf character, Joe Manganiello is truly rugged—not afraid of a little dirt (he used to be a construction worker) and most comfortable in his jeans and T-shirt.
Here, the man behind the fur reveals his style inspiration, his long-time history with Vampires, and his penchant for thigh-high boots.
Andrea Grant: What doesn’t look good on you?
Joe Manganiello: I don’t like turtlenecks.
AG: You’re often photographed going from work to public appearances, to charity events. Do you reflect a lot upon your style?
JM: When I was younger, I always said if I make it in this business then I want to be a throwback to old Hollywood. Back in the day, movie stars looked like movie stars. I like that imagery. I know that the grungy thing is popular in Hollywood, and if you’re a celebrity you want to dress down. I’ve never been for that. I think people want their celebrities and their stars to look like celebrities. I want my rock stars to look like rock stars, and I want my movie stars to look like movie stars. Now that I’m in that position, I think it’s part of my job. I think it’s part of the deal.
AG: What are your favorite brands or designers?
JM: I love my Joseph Abboud suits. They fit me perfectly. Generally, when I’m seen on a red carpet wearing suits, they’re Joseph Abboud. They custom make these suits for me, and they’re perfect. Their fabrics are amazing. There’s a company out of Australia called Zanerobe. They fit me perfectly, and I love their style. I wear a TAG Heur watch—I have a really nice one that I wear.
My friend, Geoff Thomas, designs jewelry, and he made me a silver bullet necklace with a moonstone. He made me a silver bullet, and he made me a wolf fang necklace, specifically as a gift, when I got cast as Alcide. They are amazing. He’s made me rings over the years, and belt buckles. They’re really cool pieces.
I’m a guy’s guy. I need stuff to look masculine, and his stuff is masculine. A lot of times I shy away from wearing any sort of extra jewelry because it’s not me, but his stuff is right on the money. I had him make the silver bullet and fang for our Executive Producer, Alan Ball. Producer Greg Fang got one also.
AG: What are the top 5 things you can’t live without?
JM: I’d say my construction boots. I used to work in construction, and I have these great steel-toe constructions boots I wore when I worked. I’d say my Pittsburgh Steelers Terrible Towel. I have this necklace that I wear that says “Fearlessness” in Sanskrit. If I don’t wear it, it’s always in my pocket. I don’t go anywhere without it. And, I would say my gym membership. The fifth thing I can’t live without—my glasses. I’m blind as a bat, so either my contacts or my glasses.
AG: Are there any fashion trends you love to see on women?
JM: I like thigh-high boots. Those are hot. You know, honestly, a girl wearing t-shirts, jeans, and heels—I just think there’s nothing hotter. I don’t necessarily need a lot of stuff going on. I like it when a girl is confident when she lets herself come through. When the outfit is simple, but because it’s her, it’s hot.
AG: You’ve said in interviews you always wanted to be a werewolf as a kid, but did you ever want to be a vampire?
JM: As a little kid, I loved monsters and vampires. When I was 3 years old, my mom dressed me up like Dracula and brought me to a haunted house. There was a vampire in one of the rooms that jumped out of a coffin to scare everyone. My mom let go of my hand, and I walked up to the coffin. The vampire picked me up and put me inside the coffin with him and closed the lid. I was completely cool with it.
It’s funny that I grew up the guy that I am. When you stick me in the ensemble of True Blood, it’s obviously that I’m the werewolf. They look like vampires; I look like a werewolf. I was obsessed with monsters of all types growing up.
AG: With regards to True Blood, you have vampires who have lived several fashion lifetimes who seem to be style conscious, versus the werewolves who tear their clothes to shreds when they transform. Which character do you think has the best style on the show? Who has the best style off the set?
JM: I definitely like Alexander Skarsgard’s style—or, I should say, Eric’s. Eric’s got some style. That’s probably closest to how I dress in normal life. G-Star jeans and tracksuits—I think his style is fun and chic. Alan Ball told the costume people he wanted Alcide’s style to be straight up lumberjack. Those were his words, but I like that.
My formative years were the 90s, so I love that flannel shirts are back in. I’m a jeans, boots, and t-shirt kind of guy, so I like Alcide's style. I wouldn’t say that he’s the best dressed. As a shape shifter, you can’t wear a watch or necklace because you never know when you’re going to ship out. Off the set, Nelsan [Ellis] is a very stylish dude. Everyone’s got his or her own flavor. Nelsan, time and time again, definitely stands out.
AG: You’re 6’5”. . . Any fashion tips for tall men?
JM: I found a couple of brands that fit me right and I just stick to them. For a tall guy with my specific build—I have big shoulders and long arms, but a thin waist—finding a good athletic-cut suit, or finding shirts that are built that way, is difficult.
I’ve been lucky enough to find a couple different designers that fit just right. G-Star generally fits me right off the rack. I like John Varvatos a lot—they fit really well. My advice is to find a couple of key brands, and stick to that.
AG: Do you have any style icons?
JM: I think James Dean was always well put together. He looked cool. Steve McQueen looked cool. I wear the same pair of Persol sunglasses that McQueen did, so he’s definitely someone that I paid attention to.